Opinions on advice from an Apple Genius?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by knuckleball, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. knuckleball macrumors newbie


    Mar 24, 2009
    Halifax, NS
    I'm visiting Montreal for the weekend and decided to take my MacBook Pro (Early 2009) to the Apple Store, as it has been in need of repairs for quite a while.

    The laptop has had several issues over the course of its life. It's no longer my main computer, but it is still used fairly regularly.

    One of the issues the laptop has is the random appearance of a black flicker on the display. As I mentioned, this happens randomly - the laptop will go a week without a flicker and then have eight within ten minutes. When they occur, they are very annoying.

    This is a YouTube video of the flicker: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zxcnwi_mxK8

    Many others seem to have this problem and it seems to only affect the integrated graphics card.

    When I visited the Apple Store today and explained the issue, the reply I received was approximately...

    "Yes, we know that's an issue. We hoped it would be solved with 10.6.3, but it didn't fix it. It's just the integrated chip that has an issue, so you'll have to use the dedicated graphics card."

    The guy was polite and nice, but the solution to this issue kinda floored me. I paid several thousands of dollars for this machine and it has a graphics card that doesn't work the way it should.

    The response should not be that I should simply stop using that part of the computer. I do not require the dedicated graphics card for the majority of the work I do and I don't want to deal with the increased load on the laptop.

    Considering that this is just one of many problems I've had with this particular machine (failed hard drive, failed SuperDrive, faulty battery, and an issue in which the laptop randomly turns off when not plugged into a power source) and that I own many other Apple products that work perfectly, I'm pretty disappointed with Apple's response.

    So, MacRumours, what do you think?
  2. ViviUO macrumors 6502

    Jul 4, 2009
    If you have applecare, kindly demand they fix it. If not, then there is little you can do.
  3. knuckleball thread starter macrumors newbie


    Mar 24, 2009
    Halifax, NS
    I do have AppleCare on the machine, but the response from the Genius was that there wasn't anything they could do to fix it. It's essentially something I would have to live with and work around by using the dedicated GPU.

    It's certainly not the worst thing that could happen to the MBP, but it's still a fault with the hardware and it's something Apple doesn't seem to be willing to address in any meaningful way.

    To make a comparison on a larger scale... I feel like this is similar to taking in a MacBook that won't run on its battery and having Apple respond that I would simply have to use the power cord from now on. It's not a perfect comparison, but I'd say it's not entirely off the mark.

    Thanks for your reply!
  4. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Jun 1, 2011
    several thousand dollars? o.o

    anyway, i agree that it's sort of an awkward response, i would maybe take it to a different apple store and see what they say. if they give you a similar response then start acting on your warranty.
  5. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    I would also suggest taking it up with an Apple Care rep.

    Just FYI: I have a 17" Early 2009 that's had the issue to some extent since new. I did a lot of troubleshooting - including temp stressing, switching GPUs, restarting, resetting SMC and PRAM, etc. My testing showed it happened more often on the discrete, rather than the integrated GPU. I think you'll find a mix of which device causes the problem in reports, too.

    Early on, I decided to wait it out and see of OS and/or firmware updates would fix the problem, because everything else was perfect (no dead pixels being the main thing). I can't remember which update helped, though I think it was the graphics update. That greatly reduced how often it happened and limited the "trigger" to waking from sleep. I found a suggestion saying resetting the display would help, and it does (control-shift-eject, then wake the display by hitting any key or trackpad click).

    I'm using the discrete 9600M GT almost exclusively and I don't think I ever see the problem using the integrated (the reverse of what you've seen). (The flicker/flash I see looks like your video, except it mostly seems to happen across the lower portion of the display).

    So, while I totally agree I should have it fixed and it is a defect, it's hard to show the evidence since it's so intermittent (although, I might be able to capture it with video too). I just haven't wanted to be without the machine, or risk damage which might unintentionally happen during the repair. I might change my mind as Apple Care's expiration date gets closer (7 mo. left), but chances are I'll be lazy and just reset the display when it happens.

    Hope you have success with Apple Care. I tend to think they'll make it right for you.
  6. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    Was the Genuis saying that the issue happens with all integrated cards and swapping your logic board wouldn't necessarily solve the problem?

    And did you mean 10.6.8? .3s been out for ever.

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